This week went by so fast! Time is so crazy. I appreciate it, but at the same time it makes me a little sad because I don't want this to end. Of course I know I still have about a year left, but these last 6 months flew by, and they all say it'll just go faster! It's good motivation to do my best everyday anyhow.
This week I've learned a lot about our missionary purpose. Of course we recite our missionary purpose everyday, but I've learned this week that missionary work and our purpose, is a lot more than just teaching and presenting information. Again, I've always known that, but I've come to realize the difference between just knowing and FEELING that purpose. When we love the gospel and love the Lord and love our Heavenly Father, something changes in the lessons. My testimony is more sincere. I'm able to teach better and according to needs. I'm more sensitive to the spirit and I learned that adjusting teaching to needs doesn't just mean making it easier for them to understand, but it's really helping them overcome the problems and misunderstandings they have that are preventing them to come unto the Savior. I've also come so much to appreciate my own testimony and conversion- because once you understand how your own conversion works and what it took to get there, it's so much easier to teach and help others do the same. I have an article from Elder Anderson about the missionary purpose, and one of the points he makes is that when a missionary understands his purpose, his invitation to come to church isn't just a rote thing anymore- it's a fervent invitation because we know how it will help them. All in all it's an awesome article, but I didn't really know how to apply it- but this week I saw it happen, it worked! It begins with a desire and a testimony, and has we strengthen both, the spirit can dwell more strongly with us, and so in a lesson, the spirit really takes over. It guides our words, thoughts and teachings, and by the time we extend that invitation, the SPIRIT, not our words, is the one really inviting them to act. It's not about how great of a teacher you are or how pretty our words are- something in our testimony and our hearts shines through and touches their hearts. I still don't really understand it, but I know it's true. We had a lesson the other day where we taught a sister that we first had contact with in January. We've taught her on and off because she hasn't been excited about coming to church- but finally in this lesson, she finally said she would come. And she did!!!!! :) I don't even remember what we said, but I felt it in my heart...a burning love for Christ and His gospel, and somehow, the spiritual strength that came from that was enough foundation for the Spirit to finally get through to her. I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I know that as missionaries we are subject to the powers of Heaven. I know that love for the Lord and the gospel are our foundations- not just here on the mission, but for our whole lives.
I'm also very grateful for you and for the articles you've chosen this month about applying faith. The articles about teachings, and the article about finding last week, at first, weren't has exciting to me as incredible stories or articles about faith, but now I realize how much I needed those. We all know what faith is- and sometimes I'm too comfortable with the pretty, inspiring articles about how great faith is. But I missed the point haha. Faith is about applying, and I was afraid of those articles about teaching and finding by faith because obviously I'm lacking a little bit of it! Last week, I'll admit that when you sent out the article about finding by faith, I didn't read it. But this week, I did, and it has strengthened me so much! Very, very first, it lists some scriptures to read has preparation- I expected scriptures about faith or stories about how the Lord led people to others to be taught, but you know what the very first scripture was? "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." It was about our missionary purpose! And why was that first in an article about finding? Because if we truly live and love our purpose, and actually it's not our purpose, it's God's, we will WORK, LABOR AND LOVE for His cause. His work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, and has missionaries, we are not just bringing people to church to have a fun social experience, we are strengthening them and helping them change and become people of God again. What a beautiful cause! And when we remember that this is an ETERNAL cause...how will our work and efforts change? In our lessons, I try to think and imagine our investigators or less-actives with me in the Celestial Kingdom. Or how happy I'll be when I see them again after this life. That thought and desire helps me know what I need to do to help them become closer to Christ so that will happen. I hope and pray with all my heart that when I see them again in the kingdom of our Father that they will tell me that they have been strong and firm to their testimony...that they were happy and stayed close to the Lord during their time on Earth. So am I doing my part now as a missionary to help them start that process? That perspective is what keeps me going and I never want my mission to end. Again, I love the Lord so much. I'm so under qualified to be a part of His work and His glory, but I'm grateful that He's allowed me to be a part of it anyways. I know that nothing on this earth can stop the work of the Lord...the powers of darkness are strong, the the powers of light are even greater- we will never fail if we follow Him.
***This wasn't in his letter, I'm just adding it for you guys now haha:) **
But remember my story a couple months ago about Sister Marlyn? (Letter from March 23). Well we had dropped her again, because even though we shared with her a couple times, she still wasn't committing to come to church and she wasn't really interested in the Restoration. But on Saturday, we walked past her tindahan, and Sister Tikeri kind of paused and asked if we should teach to her. For a split second I hesitated, thinking "It'll just be a waste of time, she isn't progressing," but I don't even know what happened, we kind of just ended up sitting down and teaching her! Just like that haha. But again she expressed all the problems she's having with her family and her husband doing drugs and stealing from her and everything, and how she's felt like she's tried everything in her power. Sister Tikeri and I just listened for about half an hour and then we both felt prompted to share the same story from the church movie "17 Miracles". I honestly can't remember everything that we said, but I remember saying "You feel like you've tried everything in your power to change your situation, right? well there's one thing you haven't tried yet: have you came to our church?" Then Sister Tikeri asked her: "So, will you come to church tomorrow?" And FINALLY, after months and months of no interest and no commitment, Sister Marlyn nodded firmly, smiled and said "Cige. Magsisimba ako." (Ok. I'll go to church.) I was so grateful for the spirit that was there- it wasn't us at all. It was the spirit and the fact that she finally opened her heart to listen to it. We even asked her if she wanted us to pick her up the next day and we could go together, but she said "No. If I've committed to something, I'll come." That night I prayed that I never have before, with a faith that she would come, because I KNEW that if she only came to church, this would open up everything else for her. And you know what? We went to church the next morning, and Johan and Jessa were there waiting for us. We greeted them and then they said, "There's another sister here waiting for you guys." And out walked Sister Marlyn!! She was all dressed up in her best, she even had a little makeup, but she was just glowing, she looked so happy and peaceful...just like she belonged! She loved it all and later in the evening, she couldn't stop talking about all the things she learned and how excited she is to go to Jessa's baptism on Saturday. I know that we've been teaching her for a long time, and usually we would drop people like this by now...but THIS is why we do missionary work. It's because the gospel solves problems that we can't solve by ourselves. It brings peace even when our world is falling apart. And I KNOW that I will see Sister Marlyn again when we live again with our Savior...I knew it from the first time I talked to her, and so no matter how long it takes, I'll help her get there. I love her soo much.
Sorry, I know this is long, but if you're reading this last sentence, it means you've endured it all haha so thank you:) But I love you all, I know that we all have the right to all the promises God has made to His people, we just need to follow Him and do our part.
Stay happy, follow Him. I know He lives and will come again.
Love you forever and ever and ever!
P.S. And sorry I haven't been sending pictures, a bunch of missionaries have been losing all the pictures on their camera cards on these computers, and so I'm a little nervous to send them. So you'll all see them eventually...just be patient lol;)